Should Chicago pursue Shawn Marion?

Should Chicago pursue Shawn Marion?

The Bulls look to enter this season with a ton of depth and talent. Derrick Rose called it the most talented team he's been on. With one mandatory roster spot to fill, one name keeps popping up in the Bulls blogosphere to chase. Shawn Marion, but the cost of Marion is steep and won't be defined in money.

The Pacers look to offer Marion the most money. If he decides to pursue the cash, then he'll end up with Indiana. Marion's had a long productive career. He's 36 years old right now and has earned 133 million in salary. He's had a shoe deal (though not a monster one), and probably has gotten some extra cash through marketing, but he's not in the uber rich class of athlete.

Depending how conservative he's been with his cash, he might have nearly unlimited wealth or might be thinking "this gig is almost over, I'd better take what I can get and save up this time". I'm going to lean more towards the first than the second, but I really don't know.

If he wants to go for the cash, then it's already over. The Bulls only have the minimum to offer, and so they won't win a bidding war.

Sean Marion also already has a ring. He earned one defeating LeBron in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks. He can hold a special place in our hearts for that already. Winning is always important, but a ring as a role player wouldn't change Marion's legacy much, especially since he's likely to play a smaller role on whatever team he joins.

From a Bulls perspective, I'd love to have a guy on the roster who knocked LeBron out in the finals though. I don't know if the Bulls have any fear in the locker room, but I think Marion's ring would help dispel any that's there.

If he wants a ring most, then most likely any team who's legitimately in the hunt would presumably love to add Marion for the minimum. Cleveland has pursued him hard, and Cleveland can offer him a defined role with a better chance to win. He merely has to be out Tristan Thompson to become the backup to both Love and LeBron which should get him 20+ minutes a game.

In order to make Chicago as appealing to Cleveland, they Bulls would need to carve out a similar sized role for Marion. They could theoretically promise him the starting SF spot and keep Butler at SG or just intimate to him that they see him playing 25 minutes a game at SF. Marion would add to the Bulls deep but pedestrianly talented wing players.

Let's be honest, Marion lost a step last year, and at 36 there's a good shot he lost another one this year. His blocks per minute were down to near half their historical rate, his rebound rate dropped significantly, and he's not the defensive impact player he once was. His scoring rate dropped to below 12 points per 36 minutes.

That's less than Jimmy Butler last year for comparison's sake, so he's not really an impact player on that end of the floor either. What Marion does give you is decent shooting, decent finishing around the basket, overall efficient play on both ends of the court, and plenty of veteran leadership. For a minimum salaried player, he'd be a stud, but the Bulls likely need to offer a role suited for a non minimum player to convince him to come.

Looking at the Bulls roster, I'd rather have Marion than Dunleavy, so he can steal any minutes Dunleavy would get. I'd rather play Marion at the three with McDermott/Butler at the two than Kirk at the two with one of those guys at the three which means he effectively can also take any Kirk Hinrich non PG minutes as far as I'm concerned.

Add up those two things and perhaps there's enough minutes here to entice Marion into coming to Chicago. The winter sucks compared to where he's spent his career in Phoenix, Miami, and Dallas, but he was born in the Chicago burbs and has a house in the area. Cleveland and Indiana aren't exactly winter resort cities either, so Chicago would still seem to have the edge there as a place he'd rather live.

If the Bulls add Marion, I'd love to see them enter something like an nine man rotation like this:

PG: Rose/Brooks
Wings: McDermott, Marion, Butler
Bigs: Noah, Gibson, Gasol, Mirotic

Of course, we know we'll play Hinrich over Brooks, but even swapping those two would look pretty good to me. The problem with adding Marion is that I foresee Thibodeau stealing any time Mirotic would get to give it to Marion instead. Thibodeau has generally always played the better player and isn't particularly high on developing guys in games.

When trying to win a championship I can't complain about that philosophy all that much, but there are plenty of games where the Bulls will have big leads and can easily afford to develop there younger guys. The question is in a game seven against the Cavaliers, who do you want on the floor? Shawn Marion or Nikola Mirotic?

If we believe Mirotic develops to the point that he's more valuable in that game by the end of the season then you keep Marion off the roster just so he doesn't interfere with the players they already have gelling. If you believe Marion is more valuable then you take him and Mirotic might simply end up on the ultra slow track for development (so sad for him).

Also, we already know injuries will come, and what looks like a deep team now might spend considerable portions of the season without much depth due to simultaneous injuries. The Bulls have enough players at every position to survive even a few simultaneous injuries without considerable impact, but adding Marion would certainly help there too.

In the end, I think Bulls management is either working in stealth mode or have already decided that Marion's skills aren't needed here due to the guys already on the roster. I'm okay with either scenario. I certainly like Marion more than chasing someone with "potential". The final roster spot should go to a veteran who can provide leadership, and getting someone as skilled as Marion is probably the best possible scenario.

However, if they decide to Thibs proof the roster a bit in terms of getting their rookies playing time then I'm not going to complain either.

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  • The problem with getting Marion is there just aint enough minutes to go around. Between Gasol, Noah, Taj, Dunleavy, Butler, Miritoc, Mcdermott, and even Snell, the Bulls are stacked from the 3 to the 5 spot. Bringing in someone like Marion almost kills any playing time at all for the rookies and they need to play in order to develop properly. So in my Opinion Marion Makes no sense for the Bulls. Now if this were last season I'd be all over signing him.

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    In reply to ajaychitown:

    Truth be known, i'd rather they went after Jordan Crawford to fill the spot at the two and move Jimmy Buckets back to his natural position of SF.

  • There seems to be a lot of Mike Dunleavy hate these days. Which I do not understand. He's a smart player on both ends of the floor. Thibs trusts him and he can shoot it. Why are we in such a hurry to replace him. There should be plenty of minutes on the wing to go around and, while I love McDermott, I certainly trust Dunleavy more than he and Snell at this point, though both should play reasonably large roles off the bench.

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    I'll take Marion in a heartbeat lost step n all. He's the Jack of all trades veteran player who can help the team in the playoffs.

  • I'll take Marion to steal away from the Cavs. Marion would be more important for the Cavs than the Bulls.

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    In reply to BullsDynasty:

    This! Exactly!

    Sometimes, you have to sign a player as a 'defense against another team.

    If they can sign Marion for the mid-level exception (or there-abouts) then you do it to keep your opponent (in this case, Cleveland) from creating depth on their bench.

    Marion may only play (on most nights) 12 to 15 minutes, but he'll play ZERO minutes for the Cavs....and that's the bigger impact for the Bulls.....ESPECIALLY.....when/if the Bulls play Cavs in the play-offs!

  • In reply to Retired Army:

    That strategy would have been better applied to Lebron or Love.

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    In reply to Retired Army:


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    Chicago should be set at guard, with Tony Snell and Rose. Jimmy Butler moves back to small forward where he had better success. With the rest Noah and Gasol. Bulls need a true back-up center with the rest of the money they have, and not Marion. Hopefully McDermott can make his way to the team as a reliable bench person, with Gibson,Miritoc, and Brooks. What scares you about McDermott is he is so UN-athletic and Baylor exposed him badly in the NCAA tournament lost in the blow out of Creighton. He is weak on defense because of his lack of foot speed. You cannot teach speed.

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    In reply to Curtis Burt:

    Honestly.....I'm a lot more 'scared' of Miratic's lack of athleticism and strength that I am about McDermott.

    Miratic = too slow to guard SF and too weak to guard PF.


  • In reply to Retired Army:

    Miratic might be both of those things, but hopefully Mirotic isn't either.

  • Marion really declined last season in Dallas, not sure if they even think that he has much left to offer as they seem to have passed on bringing him back. Since all that he really offers is less time for the M&M boys and forcing Butler to play SG, I'm not all that interested. I don't see him being all that valuable during the regular season, if he proves to have any value it would be in the playoffs as a veteran and on the defensive side of the ball.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I absolutely agree.

    Besides, if necessary, which we won't know for a while, the Bulls should be able to grab a SG near the trade deadline - but not if they have used up more space on another small piece who's 36 years old! Hamilton was a waste of money and space, and he was younger.

    Be smart, FO.

  • Not into Marion all that much because he can't shoot and he's 36. Now, if he comes for minimum he'd be a nice locker room guy, but Thibs better not start him b/c the floor spacing with Rose and Butler would be atrocious.

    Because of shooting, I'd rather have Dunleavy. But, if you can get both, fine.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I totally agree,Marions never been a good shooter and he's past his point of prime,so he's no use to us only maybe in defense

  • I'd rather they bring in Jordan Crawford right now than Marion. That said, I've wanted Marion for years and I feel bad that he might end up in Cleveland. It just seems that it would be a waste of a roster spot. Not that he is a bad player, but McDermott needs playing time and I think will be the starter by years end. Also, Dunleavy (in my opinion) is better right now than Marion. I wouldn't mind seeing a lineup with both Snell and Butler at the same time either. I wouldn't hate the move, but I think the final roster spot could be better used. Crawford or even Evan Turner would be better fits right now.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Evan Turner signed with the Celtics

  • It would be helpful if we had that second defender to rotate onto Lebron in the playoffs to give Jimmy a breather. Somehow at 36 I don't think Marion would be the right choice. You'd preferably want a Ronnie Brewer type player, who is willing to play spot minutes.

  • Why not Marshon Brooks who is said to go play in China?

  • Bulls still need another ball handler/shotmaker, an athletic wing who can guard and another big all at minimum salaries.

    Some interesting names still out there:
    * Jordan Crawford - Agree with PaBullfan - would be a great get especially at minimum
    * Shawn Marion - He still brings a lot of value.
    * Omeka Okafor - Big who can defend and rebound
    * Francisco Garcia - 3 and D guy; good length
    * Jordan Hamilton - 3 and D guy; good length
    * Ramon Sessions - overkill on point guards but he can score
    * Charlie Villaneuva - can he become a what Boris Diaw is for the Spurs
    * Kenyon Martin - Versatile defender and rebounder
    * Rashard Lewis - Might be a stash guy while he rehabs; performed well with Heat last season; can still hit the outside shot and his length allows for defensive flexibility
    * Antawn Jamison - a good veteran presence; multi-faceted scorer
    * Dahntay Jones - athletic wing who can defend but limited offensively

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    I would have taken Sessions before Hinrich and probably before Brooks. Perhaps he is asking for too much.

  • Yes. 100%. Marion or even Elton Brand need to fill the 13th roster spot. Why? Because Chicago needs a defensive SF on the team.

    Taj is not a SF. Yes, you can play him out of position which has been done before when Lu Deng was injured last season before he was traded to CLE. However, he is not an ideal defender for the league's fast-break SF players. Gibson is a good post defender, not a a perimeter defender good at staying in front of fast guys.

    Butler can guard both the SG and SF positions, but if he is needed at SG, then he can't be at SF too.

    Kirk is a PG. Yes, you can play a 2 PG offense and Kirk is the best current option to guard SG if Butler is moved to the 3 for defensive prowess, but that is not going to work on some teams. Kirk is also a prone to injury.

    The answer is to add a defensive wing player. A defensive specialist that can play SG, SF, or both positions. The player needs to be NBA proven. The only 2 players available right now to meet this need are Elton Brand and Shawn Marion. Marion is getting attention from CLE and IND, but Chicago should not be sitting back on him. Chicago can't match the money that IND can offer. However, Marion could win in Chicago as much as CLE could offer him. The advantage Chicago has is that he could compete to be a starter and told in the playoffs he will be their go-to guy to play SF since he has Chamionship experience. CLE can't offer that. CLE will not start Marion over Love or LeBron. If the game is on the line, then Marion is on the bench. In CHI, he would be part of the action when the game is on the line. That is where players want to be. IND is going to struggle to make the playoffs so even offering more money may not get Marion to join. I am sure he has a price he would go if they offered $5.3M for next year. CHI needs to try for him. I am not worried about him going to IND. There is no reason to let CLE get him without a fight from CHI. WE can't offer LeBron, but we can offer starting minutes in the playoffs on a contending team.

  • In reply to tomeboy28:

    Bulls need the SG more than the SF. Getting Marion could hinder them from getting the SG later.

    Plus, as already pointed out, it slows down the development of M & M.

  • In reply to tomeboy28:

    The last time Elton Brand played/guarded a SG or SF, NEVER.

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    There is a rumor blog that talks about how if the bulls keep the roster they have till next offseason then trade away Dunleavy to anyone to free cap space and try to get Marc Gasol. To sum it up, instead of getting Shawn Marion wait to get Marc Gasol to be in the wing rotation. According to the blog the starting line up would be Noah, Pau, Marc, Rose, and Butler, which would have players that basically live and Breath Coach Thibs system. The hard part of trying to get him would be money and everyone pursuing him, The Bulls could be okay if the wait till next summer and cut losses with Dunleavy and be able to offer a decent contact offer to Marc Gasol but would still have to compete with Memphis and New York mainly, both can offer more money, the bulls best selling points would be he can start with his brother, his brother Pau, and that the Bulls are strong contenders in a historically strong basketball city. I think the plan could work but idk, what do you guys think?

  • I'm not seeing the major talent upgrade... yet. If either Doug Mc or Mirotic develop into near or at All-Star level player(s), I'll see it. That's by no means a given or even as likely as we'd like to believe. Until then, we swapped Boozer for a 34-year-old Gasol, traded Deng, and added two rookies. So I'll say again, unless one of those rookies develops into a star, or you get two really solid players, it's all off-season feel good puff. We struck out on the stars, again. Hopefully we'll find a gem in the pu pu platter we settled on.

  • Hunter makes a lot of sense--I see no major upgrades either. Dunleavy, Mirotic, and McDermott all seem to be the same type of player--our inexperience at the NBA level will require time & a learning curve as well as acceptable patience from coach Thibs. Marion has that experience and will Thibs cater to giving rooks the playing time they need. I'd like to see Jordan Crawford on this team also, but let's face Thibs history with rooks. So Marion, Elton Brand, and a good backup center may be all the extras Thibs can handle.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    Major upgrades? We have to wait to know for sure, don't we?

    However, Mirotic has years of Euroleague experience, where he was a star - in fact, big enough star that he might have been the #1 pick this year had he been in the draft.

    And McDermott was the 5th leading scorer in NCAA history! Want more? He can hit from anywhere.

    So, the M & M guys plus Gasol seems to be a HUGE upgrade from the Booz, IMO. Obviously, you and Hunter are skeptical. We will soon see .

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Of course its easy to be skeptical, and stupid to just assume prospects will be great. But I can easily make the argument that the chances Mirotic becomes, at least, a very good NBA player are higher than with any player drafted in 2014. Wiggins and Parker might have a better shot to become elite stars, but Mirotic is a proven commodity, and I think the probability Wiggins or Parker don't amount to much is a real possibility. The level of play Mirotic competed at in Europe is head and shoulders above the NCAA. The NCAA is pathetically weak in comparison actually, hell the NCAA is incredibly weak compared to the NCAA 10 years ago. When's the last time a player didn't dominate college ball, got drafted top 2 and quickly became a superstar? Parker and Wiggins are more like John Wall or Kyrie irving than Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, or Blake Griffin, though I will say Jabari has a much better shot at quickly becoming a star than Wiggins and part of why he didn't really dominate college has to do with his coach being a rat scum bag. Don't be surprised if Mirotic puts up better numbers per minute than either Wiggins or Parker. I'd bet 1k he'll outplay at least one of them per minute. Personally I think if Mirotic was coming out of the NCAA right now, and the Bulls had just drafted him top 4, everyone's opinion of him and their expectations for his immediate future would be much higher. Which is utterly absurd considering he performed at an equally impressive level playing much much better competition. Throw in the fact that he doesn't have to show up day one and be the focus of the media surrounding his franchise like Jabari and Wiggins will. There's a reason Flip Saunders(a basketball guy) wanted Mirotic and McDermott while his owner(a money guy) wanted Wiggins and (gag)Bennett. Guess who won that argument?($) So take the safe route, and downplay Mirotic all you want, I personally strongly believe, based on what I've seen of his game, and the word of the scouts I respect most, that Mirotic is ready to be a starter on a good NBA team right now, and as a bench player, he will immediately be one of the most talented players in the NBA not on the floor at tip. I'll add that I don't worry about Thibs not playing him because of the rookie thing. You can't use Thibs record the past 4 years with rookie minutes when the rookies he had were all drafted well outside of the lottery. Just because he held back Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell, and that clown point guard; doesn't tell you a damn thing about what he'll do with two lottery level rookies.

  • I'd love to have Marion, but if what Doug is saying is true, and signing him will significantly cut into Mirotic's minutes then I'd rather not. Count me among those who believe in Mirotic's game, I think the argument that he lacks athletic ability to be utterly ridiculous. He will be better if he adds weight, sure, but in todays NBA game you can't exactly pound on guys who operate in the mid range and perimeter. His only athletic short coming is his weight; he isn't slow, he's 6'10", and his finesse ability is already better than 95% of the league. I know, its always safe and smart to simply have a wait and see approach with players, but I'm confident enough with what I've seen of him, to say that I'd rather not have Marion if he'll cut into 5-10 mpg from Mirotic. Best case scenario for me is that he goes for the dough, and plays for Indiana. If he starts thinking, sign wherever I can win, chances are we'd lose him to Miami anyway.

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    Sign Jordan Crawford. Move Jimmy back to the SF position. Then you'll be fine.

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